A CT-scanner study of foam dynamics in porous media

Abstract : We report an experimental study of N2-foam injection in a Bentheimer sandstone coupled with X-ray Computed Tomography (CT-scanner). The measurements of pressure drop and gas saturation at different flow rates and foam qualities allowed us to describe the foam dynamics under transient and steady-state flow conditions. The brine displacement by foam shows a transient piston-like displacement pattern taking place in two successive phases. Saturation profiles reveal permanent entrance effects related to the injection procedure, and transient downstream end effects related to the gradual foam build-up. Entrance effects are attenuated with a high foam quality and at low total flow rate. The rheological behavior of foam was studied in terms of apparent foam viscosity and foamed-gas mobility as a function of foam quality and gas interstitial velocity. In the low-quality regime, foam exhibits a shear-thinning behavior that can be modelled by a power function. Furthermore, for a fixed total velocity, the quasi-invariance of strong foam apparent viscosity values is shown to result from the slight increase of trapped gas saturation, within the commonly-admitted assumption of invariant foam texture in the low-quality regime. An increase in gas mobility was observed above a certain value of the foam quality. That transition between low-quality and high-quality regimes was related to a limiting capillary pressure of foam in the porous medium under consideration.
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Chakib Ouali, Elisabeth Rosenberg, Loic Barré, Bernard Bourbiaux. A CT-scanner study of foam dynamics in porous media. Oil & Gas Science and Technology - Revue d'IFP Energies nouvelles, Institut Français du Pétrole, 2019, 74, pp.33. ⟨10.2516/ogst/2019005⟩. ⟨hal-02294214⟩

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